Diarrhea is usually experienced as loose, watery stools that last for a day or two and then resolve without intervention. In this case, diarrhea is not dangerous. However, when the problem lasts for an extended period of time, the body may experience dehydration. Dehydration is a problematic condition, especially for the elderly and children. When diarrhea causes dehydration, the body lacks the fluids necessary to function.
Diarrhea can cause serious discomfort as well, and may include cramping, bloating, nausea, or the uncontrollable urge to use the restroom. Chronic diarrhea (that which lasts more than a month) is generally related to functional disorders such as celiac disease (an inflammatory bowel condition) or irritable bowel syndrome.